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‘Football will not forget the way that executives like Mike Ashley acted during this crisis’

5 months ago
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It is now exactly two weeks since Mike Ashley ordered Lee Charnley to send an email to most of the staff employed by Newcastle United.

Those who weren’t players or senior coaching staff ‘pointed in the direction of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ to financially support them during this crisis.

Mike Ashley telling his lowest paid staff doing normal jobs within Newcastle United ‘that the decision was to safeguard the club’s future.’

Ashley exploiting the government’s furlough scheme to get the taxpayer to be responsible for paying his staff (read below) these next few months, the scheme seeing public funds financing 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Having fled the country to his Miami mansion second home, Mike Ashley has also taken full payment by direct debit for 2020/21 season tickets from many Newcastle fans’ bank accounts, despite nobody having a clue when that season will start.

In addition, unlike other clubs Ashley also refused to delay for the moment taking advance monthly payments for 2020/21 season tickets, putting extra financial pressures on thousands of other fans at this difficult time, rather than waiting for confirmation of when next season will start and when most people will be back working/earning normally.

The NUFC owner also refusing to pay casual matchday workers their normal pay whilst football is suspended, unlike numerous other clubs who are doing the right thing.

Oliver Holt is Chief Sports Writer at The Mail and he says that ‘football will not forget’ the way that the likes of Mike Ashley have acted during this crisis.

Holt pitching Mike Ashley in with the likes of Daniel Levy who has also given the taxpayer the responsibility for paying staff at Spurs. Karren Brady is also named and shamed for her crass behaviour during this crisis, though she and West Ham did eventually release a statement announcing a series of more positive actions a few days ago. Newcastle and Mike Ashley even shamed by West Ham!

When it comes to Mike Ashley, the shame is doubled (as a minimum), as his football ‘crimes’ are just part of the picture, with his Sports Direct related abysmal actions arguably even worse.

None of us believe Mike Ashley will feel any shame for the way he has acted BUT there is hope that he has pushed things too far this time, that when things have returned to some kind of normality, thousands and thousands of customers won’t forget what he has done and will no longer blindly give him their money.

All of us can easily shop somewhere other than Sports Direct and his other brands but what about Newcastle United?

Well, his actions had already led to Mike Ashley having to give away 10,000 season tickets to try and fill St James Park, if he doesn’t sell up now, how many free season tickets would he need to hand out next season?

Oliver Holt writing for The Mail:

‘Football will not forget the way that executives like Levy and Karren Brady and Mike Ashley acted during this crisis.

The divisions that have been created within some clubs because of crass power plays will take a long time to heal.

The game will not forget the division that was sown and the blame that was spread and the arrogance of billionaires.

But for the sake of survival, the days ahead will show that if the owners had acted differently, much of this bitterness could have been avoided.’

The Chronicle report from 30 Marc 2020:

‘Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has taken the decision to place the majority of his work force on furlough leave.

Staff are believed to have been informed via an email from Lee Charnley on Monday morning as the UK got ready for week two of lockdown caused by the virus pandemic.

Staff were pointed in the direction of the governments Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which gives workers 80% of their wages back up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

It is understood that drastic move by Ashley includes a number of Academy staff and members of the club’s scouting department as well as the club’s Foundation charity. The move does not include players and first team coaches.

Newcastle chiefs are understood to have told staff that the decision was to safeguard the club’s future.’

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